HOUSTON (FOX 26) - In a few weeks Clear Springs High School will graduate more than 600 seniors - a class led academically for each of the past four years by Aaron Lassmann, a standout in the school band, an Eagle Scout and a gifted student who missed only one question on the ACT exam.
Safe to say, he simply loves learning.
"I've just always enjoyed seeing how various subjects connect," said Lassmann
But when Aaron returned to campus after Christmas vacation he would learn a different kind of lesson when his number one ranking was abruptly snatched away.
"This person had never been ranked with our class at all and essentially just leaped up to the top and pushed every single person down," said Lassmann.
It took some digging, but Aaron learned the student who displaced him as valedictorian was a girl who had immigrated from China and according to several school documents, spent each of the previous three years in the grade below his own.
"Someone who has never been part of our class who has never experienced anything with us as a class," said Lassmann.
Turns out, in order to push her way into the graduating class the younger student engaged in a flurry of on-line courses and was then allowed by Clear Springs to take a senior English course without first completing the junior class that precedes it - an action Lassmann and his parents call a clear violation of the District's own rules. It's also alleged the student failed to complete her on-line courses by a District imposed March 11th deadline - an outcome, if verified, which should have disqualified her from academic honors
"We went further and further and found that the school was basically helping her do it helping them by changing rules or flat out ignoring some of the rules," said Lassmann.
But by mid-term, the district elevated the younger student into the class of 2016 with a GPA high enough to overtake the longtime leader.
Michelle Moore is Aaron's mother and is pleading with Clear Creek ISD to reverse what she sees as a gross injustice.
"Policies were changed to help this student and I found that to be shocking at a minimum. Every once in a while you have to stand up for what's right even though it's hard," said Moore.
It's an allegation of misconduct Clear Creek ISD flatly denies, further claiming in documents obtained by Fox 26, that since her arrival from China the student has been scheduled by the District to graduate with the class of 2016.
"The student who is going to be valedictorian of Clear Springs High School as well as all our high schools have met that eligibility requirements. The grade point average is determined by educational records. It is not determined by year book or t-shirts. It's determined by the official transcript and the official educational record," said Elaina Polsen, CCISD spokesperson.
Meantime, Aaron Lassmann says he's earned a hard lesson about the lack of fairness in life and the willingness of some folks to "game" the system.
"I don't hate them or anything. This is just wrong and they need to understand that," said Lassmann.
With graduation still a few weeks away CCISD says it is still talking with Aaron and his parents.
Unless the family decides to file a lawsuit, the CCISD school board will have the final say.